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Being a Southeast Asian country with complex terrains, Vietnam attracts tourists by several magnificent and spectacular caves. Here are the topmost beautiful caves in Vietnam that you should not miss when coming to this beautiful country.
Tam Coc – Bich Dong, which is also known as “A terrestrial Halong Bay”, is one of the nicest grottoes in Vietnam due to its poetic natural scenery. Located in Ngu Nhac Mountain, Tam Coc - Bich Dong belongs to Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province. The name “Tam Coc - Bich Dong” literally means “Three Grottoes – Green Pearl Grotto”.
Tam Coc Cave
3 kilometers from Van Lam Wharf, Tam Coc consists of 3 caves namely Hang Ca, Hang Hai and Hang Ba. Hang Ca is the longest cave with 123 meters long and a cave mouth of 20 meters wide. This cave is considered the most beautiful caves among 3 caves. Hang Hai is about 1 kilometer from Hang Ca with 60 meters in length. The most attractive of this cave is a series of sparkling stalactites falling from the ceiling. Nearby Hang Ca, Hang Ba is around 50 meters long with a lower ceiling.
Bich Dong Pagoda
Bich Dong (Green Pearl Grotto) consists of a dry cave located on Ngu Nhac Mountain and a wet cave piercing through the mountain (Xuyen Thuy Dong). There is a pagoda called Bich Dong Pagoda inside the dry cave. Built at the beginning of the Le Dynasty, Bich Dong Pagoda is an ancient pagoda with a typical design of East Asian architecture. The pagoda is divided into 3 levels, which are Chua Ha (lower pagoda), Chua Trung (middle pagoda), and Chua Thuong (upper pagoda). As the entrance to the Bich Dong Pagoda is located at the opposite of the entrance to the wet place, you can do a short climb to the pagoda after visiting the wet cave.
Trang An Grottoes is an ecotourism site belonging to the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex, which was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014. The grottoes consist of numerous caves and rocks which significantly tower out from an extensive network of canals and lakes. There are 31 lakes and canals with around 48 grottoes and caves discovered, in which many caves reach about 2 kilometers in length including Hang Dia Linh, Hang Sinh Duoc, and Hang May.
Nau Ruou Cave
The most popular caves include Hang Toi (Dark Cave), Hang Sang (Bright Cave) and Hang Nau Ruou (Wine-brewing Cave). Each cave has its own unique beauty ranging from the mystery of the Dark Cave, glistening stalagmites of the Bright Cave to ancient myths about a giant brewing wine in Nau Ruou Cave.
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Sung Sot Cave
Located on Bo Hon Island, Sung Sot Cave is the largest as well as the most beautiful cave belongs to the World Heritage Site - Halong Bay. The cave was first called “Grotte des surprises” which named by the French tourists to describe their incredible feelings towards such a marvelous place. The name “Sung Sot” literally means “Amazing”. There are 2 chambers in the cave. The outer chamber looks like an opera house with colorful stalagmites and stalactites and several stone statues with many different shapes. Meanwhile, the inner chamber is considered a serene castle. The light which is reflected from the moving water makes the inside stalagmites and stalactites more alive and colorful.
Thien Cung Cave
Along with Sung Sot Cave, Thien Cung Cave is one of the most popular attractions of Halong Bay due to its outstanding natural beauty. Located in the North of Dau Go Cave, Thien Cung Cave also possesses several stalagmites and stalactites with many different shapes such as dragon and phoenix. The name of the cave literally means Heaven Cave as there are four colossal pillars inside the cave that remind tourists of the “roof of heaven”. Coming to this wonderful cave, you are expected to do a short trek through a set of stairs that is considered the stairs to heaven.
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Tien Son Pagoda
Located on Thach Dong Mountain, which is less than 5 kilometers from Ha Tien Town center, Thach Dong Cave is a top attractive tourist site in Kien Giang Province. About 90 meters above sea level, Thach Dong Mountain is a steep limestone mountain with a unique shape. To reach Thach Dong Cave, you are supposed to go up a steep rocky path from the foot of Thach Dong Mountain to the cave mouth. There are two main cave entrances in two different directions. Inside the cave, there is an ancient wooden pagoda named Tien Son. This pagoda was built in 1970 and restored in 2003.
Inside Thach Dong Stone Cave
There are two small roads inside the cave. One road is called “road to heaven” as it leads to the top of the cave and thus, making it possible for the sunlight to enter the cave. Another is a rough dark road called “road to hell” as there were many people who disappeared after trying to discover the road. However, this road was blocked to ensure the safety of visitors. Besides, Thach Dong Stone Cave is well known for the legends of Thach Sanh - a character in the Vietnamese fairy tale. According to the myth, it is Thach Dong Cave where Thach Sanh managed to rescue the princess as well as defeat the monster.
Huong Tich Cave
Located in the center part of the Huong Son national tourism spot, Huong Tich is a must-visiting cave in Vietnam. About 70 kilometers from the center of Hanoi, Huong Tich Cave is famous for its history and unique shapes. Legend has it that in 1770, Trinh Sam Lord visited this cave and gave the cave 5 words “Nam Thien De Nhat Dong” which literally means “the most beautiful cave in Northern Vietnam”. These words now can be seen in a high cliff inside the cave.
Belong to the scenic landscape of Huong (Perfume) Pagoda, Huong Tich Cave brings visitors the immense landscape from a large dragon jaw. From the cave entrance, you can enter the cave by walking down 100 stone steps. The most attractive thing you can find in Huong Tich cave is the big stalactite named Rice Dune which located near the cave entrance. If the cave were the mouth of a dragon, the Rice Dune would be the tongue inside.
Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park
Phong Nha - Ke Bang is a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site in the central of Quang Binh Province. Phong Nha - Ke Bang is known for its diverse cave and grotto system which is composed of around 300 different caves and grottoes besides many areas still not thoroughly explored. Before Son Doong Cave was explored as the world largest natural cave in 2009, Phong Nha - Ke Bang has held various other world cave records, included the longest underground river, the most spectacular stalagmites and stalactites, the highest cave, and last but not least, the broadest and most beautiful fine sand beaches.
Phong Nha Cave
The Phong Nha Cave is noted for its rock formations with diverse and unique shapes such as the lion, the unicorn, and the Buddha statue. This cave reaches 7,729 meters in length, containing 14 grottoes and a 13,969-meter-long underground river. Remarkable caves and grottoes in the Phong Nha Cave system are Dark Grotto, En Grotto, Cha An Grotto, Thung Grotto, Khe Tien Grotto, Khe Ry Grotto, and Khe Thi Grotto. Besides, there are Tien Son Cave, Thien Duong Cave, and Ruc Mon Cave which also belong to this national park.
Son Doong Cave
Located in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh Province, Son Doong Cave is the world’s largest natural cave and has been selected as one of the most beautiful caves in the world by the BBC news. It was first discovered in 1991 by a local farmer named Ho Khanh and later explored by the British Caving Association in 2009. The name “Son Doong” means “mountain river cave” as it was created by river water which eroded away the limestone underneath the mountain.
Son Doong Cave stretches more than 5 kilometers (3 miles) long and reaches the height of 200 meters (650 feet) and the width of 150 meters (490 feet). The cave has 2 large sinkholes, which were the openings created by collapsed ceilings. These sinkholes allow sunlight to enter the cave, making it possible for foliage to grow. This remarkable cave contains some rare limestone cave pearls which were scattered in dried pools. Also, the world's largest stalagmite, which is up to 80 meters (262 feet) tall, was found in Son Doong Cave.
The ecosystem in Son Doong Cave
Son Doong Cave was first opened to the public in 2013 with an exclusive 5-day adventure. Due to the exploitation policy in which the number of tourists is limited, the number of people who have been inside Son Doong Cave is less than the number of those who have stood on the summit of Mount Everest. Only 10 people per departure are permitted, and those tours run only once per week during the time from February to August per year. The main purpose of this policy is to protect the ecosystem and natural beauty of Son Doong Cave. You can both explore this cave and preserve this beauty of mother nature by taking a virtual reality tour on National Geographic, a project started by Martin Edström.
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Vietnam is the heaven of several beautiful natural caves. They not only are the creation of mother nature but have also been an ecology preserve for thousands of years. Being responsible when visiting such tourist sites, therefore, is always necessary. Check out our blog for more information about Vietnamese culture and travel tips.
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We went camping in Phong Nha once, such a gift of nature
I've watched documentaries about Son Doong and it is truly a masterpiece